Councillors have voted in favour of a masterplan outlining the future of housing development in Leeds.
The authority’s Core Strategy is a blueprint for development over the next 15 years, which includes the “ambitious target” of building up to 70,000 new homes and the commitment to back 62 new Gypsy and traveller pitches.
Housing chiefs have come under fire since the document’s new housing target became apparent, with community campaigners and Conservative councillors branding it “excessive” while fears over the protection of green field land have been raised.
Coun Peter Gruen, the council’s executive member for neighbourhoods and planning, defended the plan, which covers development until 2028, at the authority’s full council meeting today.
He claimed the council was making “a very significant step” in replacing the Unitary Development Plan, first adopted in 2001 and reviewed in 2006, that is now considered “out of date”.
“We accept it’s ambitious. The biggest change for us will be we are back in control of our own destiny – we have a plan, it’s up to date,” he said earlier this week.
Despite last minute calls for an immediate review of the Core Strategy target of 70,000 new homes by opposing Conservative councillors, the was motion was carried to accept the new document as policy.
The Core Strategy has twice gone before Government inspectors and includes a commitment to back 25 new council-run traveller pitches by 2028, 28 private and nine temporary ‘negotiated stopping sites’ after research into Leeds’s ‘unmet need’ for accommodation.
Of the 97 councillors present, 61 members voted in support of the Core Strategy, there were 18 abstentions and the rest did not use their votes.
At the meeting councillors also voted in favour of a motion to bring into force a new Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), which is seen as a way for the authority to raise funds to improve areas close to development by charging would-be developers.